A hole in one
January 23 found me in northwest Austin close to Loop 360 near Bluffstone Dr., and that’s an accurate name because I did follow a path up a rocky bluff overlooking the highway. As I walked along, one thing that caught my attention was this hole—which is actually the lack of a thing—in the pad of a prickly pear cactus, Opuntia engelmannii. There are a lot of these cacti in central Texas, and it’s not that unusual to see a hole in one of their pads from time to time. My guess is that the hole you see here was the result of a process like the one I showed in a post almost a year ago, which I assumed to be the work of a fungus. Still, most of you don’t live near cacti of this type, so a hole in one of them may strike you as strange. Take that as a prelude, because more prickly pear strangeness is coming your way next time.
UPDATE: Holes like this may be caused by fungi in the genus Phyllosticta, as I found in this article.
© 2013 Steven Schwartzman